Titchfield's only pre-school needs £7,000 this month to stay open

A CAMPAIGN has started to raise £7,000 in two weeks in order to stop a village's only and much-loved pre-school from shutting down.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:46 am

Bright Sparks Pre-School at Titchfield Community Centre in Mill Street, will close its doors on March 31 unless they can raise the funds by March 15.

The closure would see many of its children forced to move to another pre-school for just the summer term before starting primary in the autumn.

Parents of the pre-school pupils, its staff and former parents are fighting to keep the facility open until July.

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The centre only provides 20 hours of care each week and a drop in pupil numbers and funds means it is struggling to compete with other services offering longer hours.

It will be ineligible for the government’s free 30 hours of childcare offer from September.

Kirsty Williams, 31, whose daughter Millie McGuire, two, attends the pre-school, said: ‘It would be a real shame if it had to close down.

‘The pre-school and its staff are amazing with the kids there and it’s such a lovely environment.

‘It’s also a massive part of the community as it is the only pre-school in Titchfield, so it has become really important for parents in the village in terms of having their kids in there before they go on to primary school.’

The pre-school currently has 16 children on its books and employs four full- time staff.

Kirsty added: ‘I would like to think that with the level of support that the pre-school already has that we could manage to get together the funds to keep it open.’

A campaign has been set up by parent Gary James on gofundme, calling for the public to help raise the funds, with just under £500 raised already.

Sarah Wilkinson, the secretary of the pre-school’s committee said: ‘It is a real concern for parents at the pre-school as they’ve got children who will be looking to move on to primary school soon.

‘They’ll have been together for quite some time and it would be a real loss for them to have to move on before they need to.’

Sally Eland, manager of the pre-school, said: ‘We really want to keep Bright Sparks open and we need to be confident that we can make that happen.

‘The pre-school is really important for the community and it would be wonderful if we could extend its 16-year stay for a little while longer.’

The pre-school would need to raise £20,000 to stay open longer than the summer, but the £7,000 to keep it running past March is the facility’s prime target at this time.

If you wish to donate to their appeal, head to gofundme.com/save-bright-sparks-preschool.